If you had not been following the news and had not been out on the bay shore of San Francisco Bay until today, based on this picturesque evening scene of this sailboat and swimming birds off the Alameda shoreline, you would have thought that all was well in San Francisco Bay. However, if you examine the picture a bit more closely, you might wonder what the lines around the sailboat are that lie right on the water. Those are booms placed in strategic places around the Dubai Star oil spill to contain oil and to keep it from entering sensitive sites.
Just off Crab Cove, Alameda, California
During oil spills, keeping oil and people out of sensitive places can be a real challenge. One thing that has affected our efforts to capture oiled wildlife is the presence of people who enter sites closed to the public where oil is in the environment. I took this picture yesterday where distant in the backgrounds is a family with their small child playing on the beach that was posted closed to the public.
This is a bad idea on their part for several reasons: 1) crude oil is hazardous to you, your kids, and your pet’s health; 2) oil is hard to get off your clothes and shoes; 3) your presence on the closed beaches will keep sick wildlife from coming ashore making it difficult for trained responders to capture them and get them to treatment facilities; and 4) oiled birds that keep getting flushed back in the water are more likely to die of hypothermia. I know that it is tough to get closed out of an area that you love to walk in. I felt the same way when Cosco Busan closed my favorite beach to walk on in my old home town of Bolinas; but please think about the consequences of your actions if you are thinking about ignoring the “closed beach” signs.
As far as bird capture today, another quiet day with no live oiled birds captured and less than a handful of dead birds gathered up. Tomorrow we will focus on trying to capture some oiled American Coots that we know are out there.